Since 2022, the NTT Group worked to enable new remote work styles for their teams. At NTT DATA, the workstyle invention specialists at the Digital Technology Director Group took the lead in launching ovice, and has been promoting its use ever since. This team is sharing how other operational teams can implement ovice successfully.
As a system integrator, NTT DATA builds systems for central government agencies, local governments, banks, and other major corporations in various industries. Our department collaborates and introduces the latest technology with customers and promotes DX.
Yahagi and I belong to a team called "Workstyle Invention" in the Digital Technology Director Group. The Workstyle Invention team pursues understanding and implementation of technology from the aspect of work style. Specifically, one of our efforts is to first try new technologies in-house and then deploy them to customers.
In the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, our company's work style has also shifted to remote work. Our departments often work together with other departments, and these departments are scattered throughout Tokyo and the greater Tokyo area. When I came to work, I often went to the office where other departments belonged, and the opportunity to meet face to face within the department suddenly disappeared.
Before remote work became the main way of working, I used to chat and exchange information at the head office in Toyosu. During information exchanges, there were exchanges such as, "I'm having a problem with this, how would you solve it?"
Although it is possible to exchange information using chat tools, many employees feel that posting messages can be problematic because many employees may worry that posting messages could be disruptive to those to whom the messages do not apply.
I felt there was a big problem when communication was reduced in this way, so I introduced a virtual office solution, ovice.
Many departments across the company use it; we have it structured in related departments in a 10-story virtual building. Each department has its own floor.
We made it possible to visually understand what an area inside the virtual office is for. The layout of the space we are currently using is as follows: with a Plaza where events can be held in the center, a Cafe Music Area, a JukeBox where you can listen to music, a Chat area, and a Silent Room.
You can also visit and talk to our partner companies. I use conference rooms when dealing with highly confidential information. In addition, we have prepared an English Area where you can talk with local members of overseas group companies (India). Since we basically communicate in English, we named it the English Area.
Also,we have posted a convenient ovice user guide at the upper left corner, where avatars enter the space.
For those who can speak now, we ask them to put out a speaker object, and for those who don't want to talk, we ask them to leave their avatar translucent. In ovice, the status such as being in a meeting is automatically displayed in cooperation with Teams, so I feel that this is also useful for knowing the availability status of the other party.
*Editor's note: From March 2023, speaker objects have been replaced with meeting objects.
*Editor's note 2: From June 2023, “Avatar status ring” is released.
In the virtual office, we want you to be able to experience spontaneous interactions. It is a stance to set minimal rules and leave the rest to the users.
In addition to sharing tips to make using ovice easier through chat tools, we also publish information, requests for improvement, and best practices on our intranet.
I was able to create relationships even through remote work. Not only communication directly related to work, but also informal communication, such as chatting and consultation.
In addition, we have held several events using the space of ovice so far, and I feel that cross-team communication and relationships between employees has improved. Another is business productivity: until now, even the most trivial work-related communication required the hassle of setting up a meeting with a video conferencing tool and issuing a link.
In ovice, you can say, "Let’s gather around this topic at 5 PM". Even if it’s not scheduled, you can approach and start talking on the spot.
I have come to feel that I am working as a member of an organization more than before. To be honest, I don't think I had this kind of feeling before using ovice. Although it is virtual, we are all able to work together in one space, so I think ovice is the reason why I have come to have this feeling.
I would like to use the data that can be obtained from the ovice dashboard to further visualize communication.
“Data utilization” is also an important theme in the Digital Technology Director Group. I expect that we will be able to use the functions of ovice to achieve better work styles, even as a means of data utilization.